OUTREACH SERVICES FOR TEEN LIBRARY STAFF: WHAT SOME STAFF ARE DOING OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF LIBRARIES

The American Library Association (ALA) defines outreach as providing library services and programs outside the walls of the library to underserved and underrepresented populations; populations such as new and non-readers, LBGT teens, teens of color, poor and homeless teens, and teens who are incarcerated. As these populations are often marginalized and underserved, it is crucial for libraries to recognize these populations and provide services and programs to them where they are.

The YALSA Futures Report calls out the importance of outreach to underserved populations and ways in which library staff can think about ways to work with targeted communities of teens (e.g. those who are incarcerated, homeless, in foster care, or in classrooms and other inschool locations) and where they are, rather than waiting for teens to find a way to get to the physical library space.

This month I spoke with Laura Mielenhausen, Youth Services Librarian Hennepin County Library Teen Central, Minneapolis Central Library.

What kind of outreach services do you provide for teens?

I provide weekly library service to the Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center (JDC). This includes maintaining the JDC library collection; bringing new materials (both withdrawn items from Hennepin County Library and items purchased specifically for JDC); shelving the returned materials; and visiting the residents to suggest books and take book requests. When I visit the residents I let them know about the services our public library provides, including Homework Help programs, Teen Anime Club, and the Best Buy Teen Tech Center in downtown Minneapolis, where teens can do creative projects like record their own music. I also let them know how they can get a new library card and get any old library card fines reviewed, so they can get a fresh start as a library patron.

Describe a day in the life of providing outreach.

For my JDC outreach, I track the number of requests I get at each visit. I fill those requests with JDC library materials first, but in the case the teen wants a book we don’t have at JDC I bring it from the public library system. I keep a spreadsheet of who has what and everything is checked out to one library card account that I maintain. On the day of the visit, I pack my hand cart with any requested materials, new magazines, and new books for the collection and hop on the light rail to arrive at JDC. I check in with staff, sign in, and receive my building keys that I’ll use to move around the building. I have a book truck that I fill with new, popular, and interesting items, which I take up to each “mod” of residents. In each mod, I meet with residents, talk to them about the books they like and what they’ve been reading at JDC. These teens have a lot of time to fill and many read a book a day. They love to tell me about books they liked or did not like, and it gives me a good opportunity to do a little reader’s advisory on the fly by suggesting other books on the cart, and to encourage them to visit the public library after their release. After my visits I head back down to the library to put away returned materials and weed any damaged items. I spend about four hours at the JDC every Tuesday morning, with a few additional hours at my desk every week making requests, updating my spreadsheet, and getting the materials ready to bring in. Twice a year I put together an order for new books for JDC, with support from Hennepin County Library’s Outreach department. We sometimes get grant funding to bring in authors to visit the residents in JDC and other correctional facilities served by Hennepin County Library. When that happens, I work with my colleagues to plan the visit, bring copies of the author’s book for the residents to keep, and communicate with JDC staff and teachers to support attendance at the visit. Last year we were delighted to invite Kekla Magoon to come in and speak about her book How it Went Down. Residents had an opportunity to read the book before her visit and then were able to ask her questions about the book and her life as a writer. Everyone got to keep a signed copy of the book.

What resources would you recommend for someone new to outreach to look for ideas for inspiration as well as best practices?

Remember that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Reach out to other librarians in your system and those doing similar work in other library systems. Ask lots of questions – find out about existing outreach programs and what makes them succeed. If you have an idea for outreach you’d like to do, don’t be deterred by the inevitable, “Oh we tried that in 2010 and it didn’t work” response. If it’s a valuable library service that supports the mission of your library and addresses a community need, you can find a way to make it work. Meet with teachers, program coordinators, shelter directors, and other youth workers in your community and explore how you can bring library services to their youth programs or collaborate on youth programming together.

What are some of your favorite things you have heard from teens while providing outreach services?

I love hearing about what the teens are reading and seeing their enthusiasm about books. I’ve learned to never make assumptions about what incarcerated teens might be interested in reading – I get requests from R.L. Stine to Dostoyevsky, from Stephenie Meyer to Sister Souljah – and the joy I see when I bring a requested item never gets old. My favorite experience is when a formally incarcerated teen comes to see me at the library – we talk, get their library card account up-to-date, and look for books that might interest them. Coming from a situation where some books are restricted, a formerly incarcerated teen once said to me, “Wait, I can read whatever I want?” “Yes,” I said, “this is your public library. You can check out any book you see in here.”

Meet the YALSA Board of Directors

What is the YALSA Board? What do they do? Who is on the YALSA Board? These could be questions you may have and if they are you’ve come to the right place. Each month, two YALSA Board of Directors are interviewed and their responses are shared here in order to help members get to know more about the Board members, the Board itself and things the Board is working on.

YALSA’s board of directors has the principal responsibility for fulfillment of YALSA’s mission and the legal accountability for its operations. The board has specific fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, and obedience to the law. As a group they are in charge of:

  • establishing a clear organizational mission
  • forming the strategic plan to accomplish the mission
  • overseeing and evaluating the plan’s success
  • hiring a competent executive director
  • providing adequate supervision and support to the executive director

This month meet Trixie Dantis, Teen Services Librarian at Arlington Heights Memorial Library and YALSA Board Fellow.

What drew you to the Board?
I am very passionate about increasing library staff diversity. When there was a call for members to serve on YALSA’s Board Diversity Task Force, I jumped at the opportunity. Working on this task force piqued my interest in governance, learning how the organization works. I decided to apply for the Board Fellow Program a one-year commitment to get better understanding of the organization and Board.
What do you do on the board?
Since this is the first year of a 3-year organizational plan we’ve been focusing on realignment of existing structures within the organization to better serve members working towards the envisioned future of library services for and with teens. I’m on the standing board committee concentrating on Leading the Transformation of Teen Library Services priority. In preparation for Midwinter, I worked with colleagues to develop a couple of board documents
What the board is doing for its members?
There are some exciting opportunities on the horizon for YALSA members! The board is laying the groundwork for upcoming leadership development and cultural competency curricula. For those looking to get involved, there will be more short-term, virtual volunteer opportunities to fit busy schedules. For those looking to connect, revitalized Interest Groups can help you build your local or topical network. One thing I cannot stress enough, we want member feedback. Let us know what you’re struggling with when it comes to serving teens – we want to help!
What book you are reading or what is your most favorite recent teen program?
I recently finished, All In by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. It’s the third book in the Naturals series. It centers a group of teens recruited by the FBI to help apprehend serial killers and bring them to justice, like YA Criminal Minds.

Meet the YALSA Board of Directors

What is the YALSA Board? What do they do? Who is on the YALSA Board? These could be questions you may have and if they are you’ve come to the right place. Each month, two YALSA Board of Directors are interviewed and their responses are shared here in order to help members get to know more about the Board members, the Board itself and things the Board is working on.

YALSA’s board of directors has the principal responsibility for fulfillment of YALSA’s mission and the legal accountability for its operations. The board has specific fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, and obedience to the law. As a group they are in charge of:

  • establishing a clear organizational mission
  • forming the strategic plan to accomplish the mission
  • overseeing and evaluating the plan’s success
  • hiring a competent executive director
  • providing adequate supervision and support to the executive director

This month meet Franklin Escovedo, Principal Librarian for the City of Coronado, California.

What drew you to the Board?  

I think I have a strange back story for my involvement with the YALSA Board.  So at Annual in 2008 in Anaheim, my first ALA conference, I went to the member meeting GLBT-RT, and they were asking if any members were members of YALSA, “the perky librarians” the chair asked at the meeting.  Myself and a colleague who is no longer with us, were the only two members hopping up and down trying to get their attention.  We laughed about this later, since we did indeed fall into the category of perky librarian.  They were looking to fill a Liaison position for the round table, since the Liaison position had become vacant.  So I was appointed to be the liaison.  They didn’t seem to know what had happened to the previous one, they just told contact two people.  One of those was Beth Yoke and the other was a Board Member who was also a member of the GLBT-RT.  Since this was my first official activity in ALA, I was pretty lost at what to do, figured the best way to find out what YALSA was doing was to go to Board meetings.  So at Midwinter in 2009, I attended my first board meeting and was the only observer.  Sometimes they forgot I was there and would get into really heated debates, then someone would point out that there was an observer.  But from that first meeting in Denver, I was really impressed at the work that the Board did.  And from then on people kept asking me to be more involved and run for board.  So for several years I kept telling them I wanted to learn more about YALSA before I would run.  But what has kept my interest is the passion that the members of the board have for YALSA and the future of teen services, the need to adapt to the current and future landscape of teen services and for the librarians working with teens.  This is a division that hasn’t rested on its laurels but one that is trying to keep pace with the ever changing landscape of information and library services for teens, whether physically or virtually.     

What do you do on the board?  I’m one of the Board of Directors; I’m helping to shape the future of YALSA by helping to implement the new organizational plan.  I also liaison with few Chairs, the Teen Top Ten Committee, the Interdivisional Committee.  I’m also our liaison for the Division to ALA Advocacy group.  I’m currently working on a way to evaluate some of our older committees and to see what needs to be changed so that they will align with the new org plan.

What the board is doing for its members

One of the biggest challenges that the division has had over the past few years is how do you make YALSA more accessible to it’s members.  How to do you get more of the members involved?  One of biggest changes and exciting change is the ability to get more members involved in virtual committees.  The move of PPYA to a virtual committee made it possible for members who can’t afford to go to conference accessible.  One of the biggest road blocks for many members is the cost of attending a conference.  Like a lot of my colleagues, my library doesn’t cover the cost of me attending let a lot membership dues.  A not everyone is crazy like me, who pays for everything themselves.  Going to conference is no cheap affair.  So changing the charges of the selection committees has allowed more of our colleagues to participate.  This new change will allow many more librarians to get involved and help create selection list faster and hopefully get librarians who may not have participated in the past more actively involve.  YALSA is still trying to create better resources for its members and I believe for teen librarians in general.   We know that YA Librarians are often rare in libraries and that there a lot of generalist as well as paraprofessionals who serve as the Teen Librarian.  We want to continue to advocate for YA Librarians being added to the payrolls of libraries and schools.  We want to help with the continuing education of a YA Librarians, the new, the old, and the newly reassigned librarians who want to provided better services for teens.

Are you reading a teen book you may want to share or a recent program you may have done with and for teens.  I’m currently reading several books, one book is the first of the Magnus Chase series by Rick Riordan. I’m also reading Echo Park by Michael Connelly for my mystery book club that I run at my library. And I’m halfway through this year’s Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award winner, If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo.  I was lucky enough to meet Meredith at the Coffee Klatch in Orlando.  I’m so thrilled that it won! 

OUTREACH SERVICES FOR TEEN LIBRARY STAFF: WHAT SOME STAFF ARE DOING OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF LIBRARIES

The American Library Association (ALA) defines outreach as providing library services and programs outside the walls of the library to underserved and underrepresented populations; populations such as new and non-readers, LBGT teens, teens of color, poor and homeless teens, and teens who are incarcerated. As these populations are often marginalized and underserved, it is crucial for libraries to recognize these populations and provide services and programs to them where they are.

The YALSA Futures Report calls out the importance of outreach to underserved populations and ways in which library staff can think about ways to work with targeted communities of teens (e.g. those who are incarcerated, homeless, in foster care, or in classrooms and other inschool locations) and where they are, rather than waiting for teens to find a way to get to the physical library space.

This post will be a roundup of some of 2016’s posts to highlight the outreach work some teen services librarians are doing as as well potentially inspire YOU to try and replicate some of this work in your own libraries and communities.

December’s post introduced us to Jessie Vieau, Teen Librarian and the work he is doing at the  Madison Public Library, Central Library with Making Justice, a community-based learning program for at-risk and court-involved teens that includes weekly workshops and an artist-in-residence opportunity.

September’s post focused on the work Courtney Saldana, Youth Services Supervising Librarian at the Ovitt Family Community Library in Ontario, California does with the STeP program. Courtney created the STeP program or Skills for Teen Parents, an innovative library services model aimed at connecting pregnant and parenting teens with the resources and services they need to succeed as adults and as parents.

July’s post introduced us to the work of Hayden Bass, Outreach Program Manager, for the Seattle Public Library and her work in outreach and priorities she focuses on.

May’s post introduced us to Leigh Hurwitz, School Outreach Librarian with the Brooklyn Public Library and the work she does between Brooklyn PreK-12 school communities and Brooklyn Public Library.

March’s post focused on Kim Dare who was the YALSA Cultural Competence Task Force Chair 2014-2015. She talked a lot about the priorities of the YALSA Cultural Task Force be brought into the conversation of outreach.

January 2016’s post introduced us to Kate McNair, the Teen and Outreach Librarian for the Johnson County Library, Kansas, Antioch Branch.  Kate’s position focuses half of her time working directly on outreach, working with partners outside of the library.

What about some resources to help, these resources are culled from some of the posts throughout the 2016 year.

Vancouver Public Library’s Community-Led Libraries Toolkit. ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services has a whole slew of resources. Hayden Bass led a webinar at WebJunction—there are lots of other great resources linked there, too.

From Kristy Gale, Young Adult Services Librarian at the Seattle Public Library, University Branch November 2016 YALSA Blog post

  • Talk to youth and young adults that may be experiencing homelessness that use your library. They will have valuable input!
  • Check-in with library staff that are already doing this work. If you have community engagement and outreach service staff at your library, tap into them.
  • Seek out service providers at local agencies that reach out to teens and young adults experiencing homelessness along with other populations in your community that have inequitable access to resources and opportunities.
    • Connecting and volunteering with organizations that focus their work on helping young adults experiencing homelessness and LGBTQ YA has been a great way for me to learn more about the needs of the young adults I serve. Go on outreach with these organizations and learn as they model best practices!
  • The LAMBDA Summit was earlier this year, and Dr. Julie Winkelstein a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville is a Postdoctoral Researcher and nationally known advocate for those experiencing homelessness, is a powerhouse of knowledge on the topic.

There are a lot of resources that I use on a regular basis that may be helpful to people coming to outreach.  Some books that I look at; (from Pamela McCarter, Outreach Specialist, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, April YALSA Blog post )

Books:

*          Hurt 2.0: Inside the World of Today’s Teenagers (Youth, Family, and Culture)

*          Speaking to Teenagers: How to Think About, Create, and Deliver Effective Messages by Doug Fields

*          The Youth Worker’s Guide to Helping Teenagers in Crisis by Rich Van Pelt

*          The Romance of Risk: Why Teenagers Do the Things They Do by Lynne E. Ponton, M.D.

*          Ask Me if I Care: Voices from an American High School by Nancy Rubin

*          LOST and FOUND: HEALING TROUBLED TEENS IN TROUBLED TIMES by Jan Elise Sells

*          At Risk Youth, 5th Edition 5th Edition by J. Jeffries McWhirter

*          Transparent: Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers by Cris Beam

Organizations:

TimeOut Youth Time Out Youth Center serves LGBTQ youth ages 11-20.

Mayor’s Mentoring Alliance The Mayor’s Mentoring Alliance connects Charlotte mentoring organizations for the purpose of promoting best practices through providing workshops, resources and standards for quality service delivery.

The Relatives  The Relatives is a system of resources that helps children, youth and young adults find safety, stability and pathways to successful futures.

Websites:

Library Services for Youth in Custody

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Meet the YALSA Board of Directors

What is the YALSA Board? What do they do? Who is on the YALSA Board? These could be questions you may have and if they are you’ve come to the right place. Each month, two YALSA Board of Directors are interviewed and their responses are shared here in order to help members get to know more about the Board members, the Board itself and things the Board is working on.

YALSA’s board of directors has the principal responsibility for fulfillment of YALSA’s mission and the legal accountability for its operations. The board has specific fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, and obedience to the law. As a group they are in charge of:

  • establishing a clear organizational mission
  • forming the strategic plan to accomplish the mission
  • overseeing and evaluating the plan’s success
  • hiring a competent executive director
  • providing adequate supervision and support to the executive director

This month meet Nick Buron, Chief Librarian, Queens Library and YALSA Board Fiscal Officer and Diane Colson, Library Director at City College Gainesville and YALSA Board of Directors member.

What are you working on in the Board?
I was honored to be selected by the YALSA Board to complete a one year stint as YALSA’s Fiscal Officer.
My first few months has been coming up to speed with current issues with the Board, YALSA and ALA finances as they relate to Divisions.  As this is my third time with the YALSA Board (Three years as Board Member at Large and three years as YALSA Councilor to ALA Council) I feel I have been able to make the on-boarding a quick process.
What do you want others members to know about the Board and YALSA?
The YALSA Board’s responsibility is to insure a strong, self sustaining professional organization for its members.  That takes time, innovations and sometimes changing the way things have been done in the past.  I encourage all YALSA members to be involved so that they can benefit from this hard work.  Also, the Board is simply a group of members that have dedicated themselves to do for the association – this can be you. Members should feel welcome to step forward and be the next group of leaders on the board.
 
How does one get involved in the Board?
All Board meetings are open to the public and members are encourage to attend at either Mid-winter to Annual conferences,  If that does not work, YALSA Town Halls, committee assignments and events are excellent ways to know what the board is doing and get involved.
What book you are reading or what is your most favorite recent teen program?
My new favorite Teen program at my library is our Young Adult Literacy program.
Four times a year, at three Queens Library locations, 60 young people who have not succeeded in traditional secondary school programs meet to raise their math and literacy levels to the point they can study for the HSE (high school equivalency) test.  Students are given incentives when they do well academically or have good attendance habits, free metro-card for transportation and internships .  The success rate has been high with many teens succeeding where they did not in the past.

What are you working on in the Board?

I am interested in the potential of YALSA Interest Groups as a dynamic venue for member engagement. Currently, we have just three Interest Groups. Two of them serve to connect YA communities in geographical areas (Washington DC, LA) and the other focuses on the topic of Teen Mental Health. Interest Groups are a natural first step for YALSA members who would like to be involved in the exchange of ideas without a formal commitment. They can be a way for members to bond over shared passions no matter what sort of library they work in or where in the world they work. Interest groups can lead to conference programs, blog posts, or a group of experts that assist YALSA as needed.

I’m also the chair of our Advocacy Standing Committee and, in the past couple of months, have worked with other board members to create a Board Self-Assessment document.

What do you want others members to know about the Board and YALSA?

Teens really do come first. Library staff in many types of settings work with teen patrons, and YALSA aims to provide support for all of these diverse endeavors.

One recent example of this is the wiki page prepared in response to the presidential election. This very thorough collection of resources was assembled within days of the election, so library staff could respond to the concerns of young people in an informed and supportive way. Members can be proud of the level of expertise and focused leadership provided by YALSA staff and the Board.

How does one get involved in the Board?

For me, it was a matter of staying involved over the course of many years. My first official YALSA event was a “Serving the Underserved” Training program in 1999. After that, I was appointed to the 2004 Outstanding Books for the College Bound Committee, and then Popular Paperbacks. I was fortunate enough to work on a number of award and selection committees, but I also served on process committees such as Organization & Bylaws and Strategic Planning. Eventually, I worked up the courage to run for YALSA Board.

I think that YALSA leaders are always looking for members who love the organization and its work. While I personally prefer volunteer assignments that put me in touch with literature, my commitment is to YALSA as a full, dynamic entity with many tasks and responsibilities. That kind of fervent commitment doesn’t go unnoticed!

What book you are reading or what is your most favorite recent teen program?

I love adult books that have teen appeal, so often my favorite books fall in that category. I’ve recently read The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson and Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt.

Program-wise, I’m really enjoying putting together materials for my students about identifying fake news. It’s the kind of presentation that makes them laugh (who would believe THAT?) but also helps them to analyze news in a more discerning way.

OUTREACH SERVICES FOR TEEN LIBRARY STAFF: WHAT SOME STAFF ARE DOING OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF LIBRARIES

The American Library Association (ALA) defines outreach as providing library services and programs outside the walls of the library to underserved and underrepresented populations; populations such as new and non-readers, LBGT teens, teens of color, poor and homeless teens, and teens who are incarcerated. As these populations are often marginalized and underserved, it is crucial for libraries to recognize these populations and provide services and programs to them where they are.

The YALSA Futures Report calls out the importance of outreach to underserved populations and ways in which library staff can think about ways to work with targeted communities of teens (e.g. those who are incarcerated, homeless, in foster care, or in classrooms and other inschool locations) and where they are, rather than waiting for teens to find a way to get to the physical library space.

This month I spoke with Jesse Vieau, Teen Services Librarian at the Madison Public Library, Central Library

What kind of outreach services do you provide for teens?

Making Justice focuses on the community as a resource. You can see a range of projects and resources we cover on the TeenBubbler.org website. Making Justice is a community-based learning program for at-risk and court-involved teens that includes weekly workshops and an artist-in-residence opportunity. Offered in collaboration with a diverse spectrum of artists, educators and activists, Making Justice fosters community engagement and self-expression via graphic and 3D art, photography, spoken word, performance, video and life skills projects. While teen participants are often focused on creating a final product, Making Justice workshop leaders are more concerned with relationship building, basic skill development and connection to the community. The hands-on pop-up workshops introduce participants to a variety of creative outlets by collaborating with local people who want to share their talents and physical resources. Our continuous efforts to connect with potential partners is what keeps the experiences current and dynamic, allowing the library to facilitate a wide range of hands-on workshops in all nine libraries and at partner locations around the city.

making-justice

Describe a day in the life of providing outreach

Today started like every Thursday — I met the guest artist/presenter at Central Library to go over supplies and room setup, and the workshop outline that will be run with two teen classrooms today. The Shelter Home classroom takes their van to Central Library each week for a 90-minute hands-on workshop in the Media Lab or the Bubbler Room. An hour after they leave we are already setup and starting the second workshop five blocks away inside the Juvenile Detention Center classroom. I walk to and from the detention center with the artist and our university intern/s, and we get to break down what just happened, vocalize observations and suggest alternative ideas all while pushing a cart of laptops or a flatbed stacked with several large painting canvases around the Wisconsin state capitol building. After arriving back to Central Library in the afternoon today, I then met two artists who needed to prep the silk screens for tomorrow’s tee-shirt design workshop in the Bubbler Room with an at-risk high school classroom under the local school district’s innovative ed department. After ensuring they had all of the supplies they needed for tomorrow’s workshop I was walking to another meeting when, luckily, I ran into our favorite rap artist and part-time library security monitor who needed to make sure I had the set of MacBooks with LOGIC installed on them packed up and ready to go so he was all set when he gets picked up by the beat producer tomorrow morning for their “Rap Sessh” workshop on-site at a different at-risk high school classroom. After adding that to my small list of things I still need to do before I leave today, I went into a 2 hour meeting with one of my mentors who was in town and was able to fit me into her crazy schedule in order to get updated on all things Teen Bubbler, exchange several new ideas, and discuss further edits to the Making Justice project permissions form to ensure it covers the playing of teen audio content on the new youth radio station on the city’s West side. We hugged, I ran through the 5-story building to check off my to-do list, and I walked out into the warm December night just as my wife and three kids pulled up to the curb across the street. And then there was a lot of email tonight after everyone went to bed.

What resources would you recommend for someone new to outreach to look for ideas for inspiration as well as best practices?

Connect with people in your service area. Go to meetings already happening in the community and request meetings with anyone who serves youth. Create your own database by asking people questions about what they do, what resources they have and what they are passionate about. Make note of common goals. Networking has been key for me to understand how to connect Madison teenagers to resources outside of the library’s walls.

What are some of your favorite things you have heard from teens while providing outreach services?

“You mean I don’t have to illegally download LOGIC anymore?” (after hearing of several options to use the library’s copies for free)

“Its so nice to take a break from learning.” (after just having created her first ever stop-motion video)

“I’m actually happy I’m in jail right now.” (while in the middle of a black-light chalk workshop at the juvenile detention center)

“Hey guys, we’re going to Bubbler today!” (using Bubbler in the form of a verb)

Maine Library Association 2016

This was my first time going to the Maine Library Association, being a librarian from the state of Massachusetts I think it may make sense why I wouldn’t attend. BUT I was so happy to have been there representing YALSA as a YALSA Board of Directors member and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. #MaineLibraryAssocationConference16 was from November 14 and 15.

mla-postcard-v-1

There were 8 presentations/programs that focused on youth services/programming with a lean towards teen services/programming. I’m sharing a sample of some of those.

Dan Wells was the keynote speaker on the first day. He began by talking briefly about his own books and then delved into the world of dystopia through a publishers lens and talked about the possibility of this trend may be on the decline. He also concluded with a sobering thought;  “we are in District 1 (reference to Hunger Games); we have stuff, we have affluence but our clothes are made in sweatshops as are our phones, every 30 seconds a child is dying of starvation. We already are living in a dystopian novel.”

Anyone Can Code failure and persistence are both necessary-not necessarily learning computer programming. Running a coding program can be as easy as a laptop/computer and internet access to sites like Khan Academy, Code.org, Codeavengers and others. You may not be an expert and that’s okay, that’s the point. Libraries can facilitate these type of programs, familiarize yourselves with the platforms but it’s not necessary to be experts. Teens can help themselves, each other and help others with the learning.

YALSA Booth I spent some time at the YALSA booth connecting with librarians and library staff from across the state learning about some challenges they have in their own libraries. Some were the only youth services librarians in their library so they are serving 0-18. I know this is a challenge for many librarians across the country. It was helpful being at the YALSA booth to hear about what some libraries are doing with not large budgets, some with large budgets and others with no teen librarians but they were all really trying to reach this age group and engage with teens in their libraries.

Maker Fair Panel public and school libraries  represented and each had difference in their scope and focus for maker fair/maker programs, The Curtis Public Library held a 5 hour festival on a Saturday which included classes, exhibits, activities, for people of all ages. STEM, food, mindy and body and crafts were themes of maker programs. Berwick Innovation Center  is part of the Berwick Academy-they are focusing on reaching all grades through STEAM programming and makerspaces in many areas in the school. The programs are all student driven through the programs they choose. York Public Library-received a mini grant through the district of Maine in order to purchase stuff for the programming-Makey Makeys, 3D printers, etc.

I presented a presentation on College and Career Readiness for Middle Schoolers. I shared many of the already existing YALSA resources as well as speak about the focus of reaching this age group in my own library (the Boston Public Library). We try to focus programs purposely on college and career readiness as well as incorporating trying to build some of those skills in already existing programs to help prepare middle school aged teens for career and college/technical/vocational school. Below are some YALSA resources that can help with working with middles school aged teens in helping to get them career and/or school ready.

YALSA college and career readiness wiki

Future Ready with the Library

YALSA Teen Programming HQ

OUTREACH SERVICES FOR TEEN LIBRARY STAFF: WHAT SOME STAFF ARE DOING OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF LIBRARIES

The American Library Association (ALA) defines outreach as providing library services and programs outside the walls of the library to underserved and underrepresented populations; populations such as new and non-readers, LBGT teens, teens of color, poor and homeless teens, and teens who are incarcerated. As these populations are often marginalized and underserved, it is crucial for libraries to recognize these populations and provide services and programs to them where they are.

The Futures Report calls out the importance of outreach to underserved populations and ways in which library staff can think about ways to work with targeted communities of teens (e.g. those who are incarcerated, homeless, in foster care, or in classrooms and other inschool locations) and where they are, rather than waiting for teens to find a way to get to the physical library space.

This month I spoke with Kristy Gale, Young Adult Services Librarian at the Seattle Public Library, University Branch.

What kind of outreach services do you provide for teens?

  • I should first explain that while I am a teen services librarian, I focus a lot of my efforts on serving older young adults experiencing homelessness, as the U-District in Seattle (the neighborhood I work in) hosts a high number of these young adults. Some of them are teens, but the outreach and programming that I provide centers around young adults in their teens through age 26.
  • I’ve applied for and have been awarded ALA’s Great Stories Book Club grant for the past two years (the application for the 2017 grant is now live!). It’s an amazing reading and discussion program that targets underserved teen populations by providing three sets of books, intensive training, and book discussion guides and support materials. I work with the local alternative high school, and we formed a book club. We have monthly discussions using books that are relevant and engaging, giving teens the opportunity to talk about issues that impact their lives. We also have a guest speaker either representing a local service agency or an expert in a career field join us for the discussion. Afterward, the guest presenter shares information on the services and resources they provide or information about their career. When we read the graphic novel March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, we had a local comic book artist join us. When we read Something Like Hope by Goodman, we had a case manager that works with at-risk YA as our guest. Here’s a blog I’ve been using to document our book club meetings. https://teenbookclubtpl.wordpress.com/
  • I do street outreach with the organization Teen Feed 1 – 2 times a month. Teen Feed provides case management, healthcare coordination, street outreach, and nightly meals for young adults ages: 13 – 25. I join a small team of staff and peer outreach interns and we meet youth and young adults in the streets, parks, and alleys where they spend most of their time. We make positive contacts with them on the streets, and offer socks, hygiene items, food, referrals to resources, and a relationship with a caring adult. I usually bring paperback book giveaways and flyers promoting the weekly young adult drop-in that I host at the library.

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OUTREACH SERVICES FOR TEEN LIBRARY STAFF: WHAT SOME STAFF ARE DOING OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF LIBRARIES

The American Library Association (ALA) defines outreach as providing library services and programs outside the walls of the library to underserved and underrepresented populations; populations such as new and non-readers, LBGT teens, teens of color, poor and homeless teens, and teens who are incarcerated. As these populations are often marginalized and underserved, it is crucial for libraries to recognize these populations and provide services and programs to them where they are.

The Futures Report calls out the importance of outreach to underserved populations and ways in which library staff can think about ways to work with targeted communities of teens (e.g. those who are incarcerated, homeless, in foster care, or in classrooms and other inschool locations) and where they are, rather than waiting for teens to find a way to get to the physical library space.

This month I spoke to Carrie Rogers -Whitehead who was the Senior Librarian in Teen Services for the Salt Lake County Library System. She began the outreach program with the juvenile detention system in Salt Lake County.

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1. What kind of outreach services do you provide for teens? How long has this program (or partnership) been in place?

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Creating STEM Based Programs in Your Library

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Tezeno Roberson is the District Manager of the Dallas Public Library and wrote an absorbing article for the Journal of Library Administration entitled “STEM”-ulating Young Minds: Creating Science-Based Programming @ Your Library.”

The article focused on the little the library did have and the big things they did with it. The library had a successful summer reading club that led to an even more successful partnership between the library and a local non profit science organization. The University of Texas at Dallas worked directly with Roberson in creating a curriculum that would comprise of the summer program and other community partners such as Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Dallas Graduates of the Last Decade (IEEE Dallas GOLD). Roberson was able to demonstrate a shared vision and showed the mutual benefits of a partnership which made securing the organization’s buy-in easier. Together the partners created a unique “science discovery camp,” now in its third year (as of 2015, the publication date of article). The camp introduces middle-school-aged students to basic science concepts, actively engages them in creative experiments, and uses fun competitions to test scientific theories.

As we know STEM (and STEAM) programming has been trending in libraries for at least five years but the reality is part of that is in response to major cuts in national, state, and local funding for school programs, most specifically in STEM. Roberson focused on taking the model of YALSA’s Teen Tech Week (that of showcasing all of the great digital resources and services that are available to teens to help succeed in school and prepare for college and 21st century careers) and stretching that concept to three months. The programs were targeted to tweens with a total of 36 that participated. They also had 12 volunteers helped run the programs and each of the programs were stand alone programs, there were three programs for a duration of three hours each.

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